Britax is a well-known company that produces and distributes child car safety seats around the world, including countries in the Americas, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia. For the last 70 years, they have worked together with parents, car manufacturers, safety experts, and the government to create the safest products possible. Their product line includes travel systems, strollers and car seats. This article reviews the Britax Roundabout G4.1.
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The Britax Roundabout G4.1 is a child safety seat designed to protect the child in the event of an accident. The position of the seat, safety latches that connect to the frame of the car, and impact-absorbing padding, plastic and metal pieces all work together to prevent injury or death. Many car seats made today have similar features, but some more expensive brands will have additional materials and technology to reduce injuries as much as possible.
Car Seats and the Law
The laws in every state dictate that children under the age of 4 must remain in a regulation car seat placed in the back seat of the car. After they reach a certain height and weight, they can transition to a booster seat and use the car seat belt as protection. Car seats can be configured in two different ways: front-facing and rear-facing. The current science indicates that children need to stay in rear-facing seats as long as possible, even beyond their first year. People who do not restrain their children in safety seats not only endanger the children’s lives but also risk receiving a fine if caught by the police.
Front- or Rear-Facing
Many car seats allow you to start out rear-facing and then turn the seat around to be front-facing when the height and weight of the child allows. Rear-facing is always safer to protect the child's neck from the force of a collision. The laws allow children to be front-facing far sooner than safety experts suggest. Collision data indicate that children should stay rear-facing until at least 2 years of age. However, by this time, their legs have usually grown longer than the rear-facing car seat comfortably allows. Besides, many 2-year-olds begin to complain to their parents about having to face backward. Another mitigating factor is that parents cannot see children in rear-facing seats without a mirror. For all of these reasons, parents often turn the seat around at the 1-year-old mark. However, it is best to keep children rear facing for as long as possible.
Similar to the debate between the rear-facing and front-facing seats, the argument of when to move children to booster seats is equally troubling. Children need to remain in a five-point harness as long as possible for their safety. As children get older, the harness becomes less comfortable to sit in for long periods of time. They also do not want to feel like babies, still secured into a car seat. Again, parents tend to move children into booster seats before they are fully ready. To ensure the child's safety, they should not move from car seats to booster seats until the car seat belt sits comfortably across the middle of their chest when seated in the booster seat. Even then you need to make sure that the child wears the belt across the lap and chest. Many children bypass the chest strap because it is annoying. If this is the case, you may want to consider keeping the child in the five-point harness until he or she is old enough not to remove the chest strap.
A Note on Expiration Dates
Every child safety seat has an expiration date that is approximately six to 10 years from the date of production. This expiration date appears on a label near the back or the bottom of the seat. Any seat that is expired should be disassembled, marked as expired, and then place in recycling or the trash. While the seat may still look like it is in excellent condition, you may not know the total history of the seat. It could have been in an accident or have a product recall. You can quickly check the expiration date or recall notices online or by calling the company.
Many people think that the reason for this expiration date is that the plastic can start to break down. However, many manufacturers agree that this does not start happening until the seat is at least 10 years old, even if the car seat routinely sits in very hot or very cold cars. Given the fact that plastic lives in landfills for thousands of years means that 10 years is just a speck of time in comparison. What happens is that manufacturers continue to upgrade their models and safety features. As they do this, they discontinue older models, which then makes finding parts more difficult. Also, car seats may have recalls over time as pieces begin to wear out or break prematurely. If the seat is within the expiration date, the company will recall the seat or provide you with a part to fix it. However, if it is out of date, the company is not required to provide replacement parts.
Here are the technical specifications of the Britax Roundabout G4.1:
Special Features: Britax child seats have Safecell Impact Protection that is exclusive to the brand. This integrated system of safety features can only be found on Britax child seats and contains several special features:
Used seats can be found cheaper, since the model has been in production for a few years. You can typically find this seat in retail stores that carry baby equipment, such as Target, Walmart, Albee Baby, and Buy Buy Baby. You might find used seats on eBay or your local child equipment exchange or resale.
How It Compares
Britax makes several different models of car seats. The Roundabout is the base model of all the Britax brands. For this reason, it has excellent safety features but fewer than others models. For instance, the Marathon style has 10 quick-adjust headrest positions and the EZ-Buckle system. The Boulevard style also has the ten-point safety headrest but also has the patented Click and Safe Snug Harness Indicator. Further up in models and price, you have the Marathon ClickTight, Boulevard ClickTight, and Advocate ClickTight that have some of the same features of the originals but with the addition of the ClickTight system. They also have more positions for the adjustable headrest. The Roundabout has many essential safety features, but the more expensive models have additional features for further ease, comfort and safety.
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Pros and Cons
Overall, reviews for the car seat are overwhelmingly positive with over 80 percent of feedback from customers being either 4 or 5 stars.
Tips for Choosing a Car Seat
Before running out and purchasing a car seat, you will want to keep several essential facts in mind:
- Review your owner’s manual to see how the car seat is supposed to fit in your vehicle. Find your LATCH connections. Not all car seats will fit in all makes and models of cars. Some car seats run bigger and may cause problems with space. Be sure to know how the seat should fit so that you find an appropriately sized one. If you cannot figure out where or how to install the seat, you should check with the local Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technician at police and fire stations or your local hospital.
- Choose the correct seat for your child’s age, height and weight. Rear-facing seats are often smaller for infants and newborns. Forward-facing seats are for children ages 2 years and up but must meet height and weight requirements. Some seats can convert from rear- to front-facing, and some cannot. Be sure to know what type of seat you are purchasing beforehand.
- The car seat should have easy-to-read instructions on how to install it in the car. If you are a new parent, you will need to practice attaching the seat before you bring the baby home from the hospital.
- The two-piece harness clips are much more difficult for children to unfasten on their own. Look for this feature to save yourself the hassle of your child unbuckling in the middle of a car ride.
- Choose an easy-to-clean fabric because children are very messy!
You will want to keep in mind that this model of car seat is a few years old and has been made since 2014. For this reason, you will need to check the expiration date of any used car seat that you intend to purchase or receive from a well-meaning friend. Car seats that have past their expiration date can be a hazard and may not perform as well as a new car seat.